Saudi Arabia will restrict travel to and entry from Ethiopia, UAE, Vietnam and Afghanistan over coronavirus concerns, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday.
The ban goes into effect on July 4 and will apply to anyone who has been in those four countries within the last 14 days, it said. Saudi citizens returning before Sunday will be exempted.
The report said the decision was based on the “keenness of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s government on the safety of citizens wishing to travel abroad, and in light of the ongoing outbreak of [the] coronavirus pandemic and the spread of a new mutated strain of the virus”.
“The Ministry of Interior calls upon citizens wishing to travel to the countries to which travel is permitted to be careful, stay away from areas where the virus is spreading, and follow up all precautionary measures, regardless of their destination,” said the SPA report.
Saudi Arabia had previously suspended entry to the kingdom from 20 countries, including Pakistan, on February 3, with the exception of diplomats, Saudi citizens, medical practitioners and their families, to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The ban had been placed on Egypt, UAE, Lebanon, Turkey, UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, US, Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan and South Africa.
Later in May, the ban was lifted on travellers arriving from 11 of the countries: UAE, Germany, US, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, UK, Sweden, Switzerland, France and Japan, SPA had reported, quoting an Interior Ministry source. Pakistan was not included among the countries on which the ban was lifted.